Skip to main content


Ride On Newsletter January 2020

By Mario

Happy New Year! Welcome to the first edition of Ride On for 2020!

In this issue we report on a new Tech-Air system from Alpinestars that works with any jacket, remind riders that this is Shiny Side Up season, find our where the bike that inspired Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance ended up and take a look at an amazing bit of SteamPunk inspired customisation.


Crazy, but kinda cool

How's this for a bit of SteamPunk craziness? Powered by a backpack full of compressed air feeding the glass (!) cylinders, even its builder, Peter Forsberg, admits it's 'not a very good motorcycle'. But it surely is a work on inspired imagination.

Watch Peter Forsberg of Brooklyn Choppers explain the bike's build.

Peter Forsberg's Steam-Punk inspired custom built motorcycle

Don't miss Shiny Side Up

Now bigger than ever, and covering more of the country, for 2020 Shiny Side Up comprises four Bike Fests and seven events in the Talk Series. From Invercargill (coinciding with The Burt) to Whangarei, this year's line-up includes a host of new and returning presenters, stunt riders, subject experts and demos. One big highlight for many will be the presentation and talk by Andrew Stroud, along with his World Championship-winning Britten on display. If you haven't been before it's a must-do this summer.

Get full details at the Shiny Side Up website.

Best gear 'a lifesaver' in horror crash video

Many of us will have seen the dash-cam footage released by the UK's South Yorkshire Police capturing a terrifying head-on smash between a bike and a car. The car driver drifted onto the wrong side of the road in a corner. The rider was flung 5 metres into the air and ended up 100 metres down the road from the point of impact. Although incurring serious injuries, including a broken back, the rider lived and he puts his survival down to the top-spec airbag suit he was wearing at the time. It just shows how things can go wrong that aren't in your control, and the importance of wearing all the best gear, all the time.

South Yorks Police video footage

Alpinestars' new Tech-Air 5 suit

A-Stars new Tech-Air 5 to suit any jacket

Speaking of airbag protection, Alpinestars have been one of the leading manufacturers in the field for some years. Until now, and like most others, their Tech-Air system was only compatible with certain suits and jackets in their range. But the new Tech-Air 5 offers total flexibility to use with any jacket, the only proviso being that 4cm of space is required around the circumference of the rider's chest in leather jackets. At US$699.95 it's not cheap but it still looks like a great step forward in making airbag protection more widespread. And it's doubtful the rider in the above video wished he'd spent less money on his gear.

Alpinestars' Tech-Air 5, available from March 2020.

CF Moto V

The twenty worst bikes?

We're not entirely sure where the author of the piece below is coming from. The article is titled '20 Cheap Motorcycles You Should Avoid With a Ten-Foot Pole', but he clearly hasn't checked on the price of H1 and H2 Kawasakis lately.. Not to mention that, yes, they don't handle or brake particularly well but nor did their contemporaries. And a Ducati 900SS? Really? There are plenty of other desirable machines in the list, and they're certainly not 'cheap'. The CF Moto V, Honda PC800, and Fury, however, are bang to rights.

See what you think of the list.

Robert Persig's Honda Super Hawk

'Zen and the Art' bike gifted to Smithsonian

We reported in 2017 on the passing of Robert M. Pirsig, author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, and now his widow has gifted the Honda Super Hawk he rode that inspired that book to the Smithsonian. The CB77 Super Hawk is an electric-start 305cc twin that gained Honda a lot of kudos in the early to mid-sixties. The bike has been accompanied by a manuscript copy of Pirsig's book and other memorabilia as part of the donation to the museum.

The Smithsonian reports on its recent acquisition 

Catch you next time

We hope you enjoy your regular editions of Ride On. You can let us know your thoughts and suggestions on the Contact page of the Ride Forever website. We also hope you get to enjoy a great summer's riding (if the weather eventually picks up!) and remember: a great way to get more out of it is with a Ride Forever course. Go on, treat yourself. Meantime, be sure to make room in the calendar for one of the Shiny Side Up events. Check dates and locations at and we'll look forward to being in touch next time. Until then, stay safe and have fun.